Goynar Baksho: A Horror Comedy Film Based on a Novel by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
Goynar Baksho (The Jewellery Box) is a 2013 Bengali language Indian horror comedy film directed by Aparna Sen. The film is based on a novel Goynar Baksho and a short story Rashmonir Sonadana, both written by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and published in Desh magazine. The film premiered in Kolkata on 12 April 2013.
The film revolves around women of three generations and their changing position in society, seen in relation to a box of jewels, handed down from one generation to the next. The lead character is the matriarch of a Bengali Hindu family (Moushumi Chatterjee) of landed gentry in East Bengal. She was married off in an arranged marriage at age 11, and widowed shortly thereafter. The story of the film revolves around her wedding jewels, which she keeps sequestered in a box. After becoming a victim of ethnic cleansing during the partition of India, her family moves to the Republic of India from East Pakistan, losing their ancestral lands in the process. She spends the remainder of her life, apparently as a chaste widow, hiding her wedding jewels from her greedy relatives in the joint family.
In 1949, she befriends the new bride of the family, her niece-in-law (Konkona Sen Sharma) shortly before dying. The niece-in-law is visited by the spirit of the matriarch, who demands that she hide the jewelry box from her greedy relatives. Over the years, the family descends into poverty, losing money in judicial proceedings over family property disputes, while the niece in law, regularly monitored by the spirit of the matriarch, keeps the jewels hidden. Eventually, the spirit of the matriarch allows the niece-in-law to pawn some of the jewels so that her husband (Saswata Chatterjee) can set up a business, over the objections of the family, selling saris. The prosperity of the business allows her to buy the jewels back, completing the hidden collection. The niece-in-law discovers that her husband is having an extramarital affair, and complains to the ghost of the matriarch. The ghost of the matriarch regales her with a story of a torrid sexual liaison that she had with a labourer when she was alive and young, and encourages the niece in law to take on a lover of her own.
The film is a blend of humor, horror and social commentary. It explores themes such as gender roles, sexuality, patriarchy and class struggle. The film has received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It has won two awards at the 2014 Filmfare Awards East for Best Actress (Moushumi Chatterjee) and Best Director (Aparna Sen).
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The film has also received praise for its performances, especially by Moushumi Chatterjee and Konkona Sen Sharma, who play the roles of pishima and Somlata respectively. Moushumi Chatterjee delivers a hilarious and memorable performance as the ghost of the matriarch, who spews profanity, smokes hookah and meddles in the affairs of the living. Konkona Sen Sharma portrays the transformation of Somlata from a timid and naive bride to a confident and independent woman with grace and subtlety. The chemistry between the two actresses is remarkable and they carry the film with their comic timing and emotional depth.
The film also features a strong supporting cast, including Saswata Chatterjee as Somlata's husband Chandan, Paran Banerjee as Chandan's father Chandranath, Kaushik Sen as Somlata's lover Rafique, Srabanti Chatterjee as Somlata's daughter Chaitali and Pijush Ganguly as Chandan's brother Chanchal. They all add to the humor and drama of the film with their distinct personalities and quirks.
Goynar Baksho is a film that celebrates the spirit of womanhood and challenges the norms of patriarchy and tradition. It is a film that showcases Aparna Sen's versatility as a director and her ability to blend genres and styles. It is a film that offers a rich and entertaining experience to the viewers, with its witty dialogues, vibrant visuals and engaging characters. 061ffe29dd